You Gotta Believe

By Randall MellJune 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Phil Mickelson believes.
 
You could see it in his eyes Sunday as he marched across Bethpage Black with his raucous legion of New York fans in tow.
 
You could see the notion that he can win this U.S. Open taking hold after his 35-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole made the earth quake when it hit the bottom of the cup at the end of the third round.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson is seeking his first U.S. Open victory. (Getty Images)
With his electrifying finish at the 54th hole, and his promising start to the final round, Mickelson begins Monday radiating with confidence that he can script one of the greatest stories in U.S. Open history.
 
Mickelson may not be in full command of his game, but hes got something better going for him.
 
He believes he can win.
 
Just as importantly, so do all those New Yorkers trying to will him to victory.
 
That makes him dangerous.
 
Steve Stricker played with Mickelson in the third round and could feel power being transferred.
 
Its unbelievable, Stricker said. Ive never experienced anything like that. I think it even shocks him. Its just amazing how loud they are when he makes a birdie.
 
With that closing birdie in the third round, Mickelson pulled into a tie for fifth, six shots behind the 54-hole leader, Ricky Barnes.
 
With a simple pair of pars before the final round was suspended due to darkness, Mickelson climbed even closer, into a tie for third place and within five shots, thanks to Barnes bogey to start the final round.
 
Not bad considering Mickelson was 11 shots back after making the turn to the back nine in the third round.
 
Mickelsons third round was about as adventurous as a 1-under-par 69 gets in a U.S. Open.
 
With seven birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey, Mickelson bounced up and down the leaderboard.
 
Birdies at four of the final six holes turned his day around.
 
Ive been there and know what can happen in the final round when you start trying to protect the lead, said Mickelson, a three-time major championship winner. Anything can happen in the U.S. Open.
 
You could see Mickelsons confidence swelling as much as you could hear it in Sundays fading light. He starts Monday 16 holes from glory with only Glover and Barnes in front of him, neither of whom has ever won a major.
 
If there were 30 people ahead of me, I would have to shoot 8, 9 or 10 under par to have a chance, Mickelson said. There are two [players]. If I get a hot round going, I can get a little bit of momentum. Absolutely, I feel like I can make up the difference.
 
If Mickelson brings home the U.S. Open trophy to his ailing wife, Amy, their story will rank among the most dramatic in U.S. Open history. It will rank somewhere with Francis Ouimets winning as a 20-year-old amateur in 1913, with Ben Hogans comeback in 1950 after a nearly fatal car accident and Tiger Woods victory last year on a broken leg and blown-out knee.
 
Mickelson said that before he left his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Amy told him to bring back the trophy. Thats on the minds of these New Yorkers. You can hear it in how many folks shout out that theyre praying for Amy as she deals with breast cancer and the treatments that await. You can see it in the pink ribbons on display here.
 
The crowds kept Mickelson going.
 
Its just incredible, Mickelson said.
 
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    Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

    By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

    The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

    Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

    According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

    "My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

    Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

    Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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    Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

    By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

    Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

    Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

    Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.


    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

    It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

    While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

    One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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    Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

    By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

    Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

    But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

    Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

    A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

    After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

    He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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    Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

    Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

    A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

    Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

    Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: